About the Book
Book: A Lady in Attendance
Author: Rachel Fordham
Genre: Christian Historical
Release date: June 1, 2021
Rachel Fordham’s historical novels have received high praise for their warm and engaging story lines filled with romance, adventure, and happy endings. In A Lady in Attendance, Fordham beautifully blends these same great features in a novel about overcoming obstacles in the past to make room for a better future.Ada, Mi.
Will the Past Destroy Her Future?
After spending the last five years in a New York state reformatory, Hazel is desperate to begin life anew, but she knows that a tarnished name could ruin her chances. She accepts a job as Doctor Gilbert Watts’ lady in attendance but does so under an alias so she can hide her shameful past.
Dr. Watts has come to enjoy the pleasant chatter of his new dental assistant, but he senses her sadness and wonders if there is more to her story than she’s shared with him. As their friendship deepens, Hazel must grapple with her desire to trust him.
Can Dr. Watts and Hazel’s friends help expunge her record? And can Hazel possibly find hope and love along the way?
About the Author
Rachel Fordham is the author of The Hope of Azure Springs, Yours Truly, Thomas, and A Life Once Dreamed. Fans expect stories with heart, and she delivers, diving deep into the human experience and tugging at reader emotions. She loves connecting with people, traveling to new places, and daydreaming about future projects that will have sigh-worthy endings and memorable characters. She is a busy mom, raising both biological and foster children (a cause she feels passionate about). She lives with her husband and children on an island in the state of Washington.
More from Rachel
Ten behind the scenes extras from A Lady in Attendance:
- This book takes place in Amherst and Buffalo New York, places I lived for four years. Buffalo has had some rough years but if you ever visit the area you will see gorgeous old buildings, beautiful parks and cemeteries and understand why it was once a booming and prosperous city (and why I love it still). Gilbert and Hazel both grew up in the area (though, they did not know each other until the story begins). Two of my children were born in Buffalo and though they aren’t being raised there, I tell them stories.
- Hazel spent five years in a New York State reformatory. Reformatories were basically the first juvenile delinquent facilities (the ages of who could be sentenced there was different from today). Reformatories were a new idea. There were still a lot of people who believed in “bad blood” and that a criminal could never be anything but a criminal. There were some heroes who fought hard to convince the public, that people could change. Because of this book’s storyline, I could not go too deeply into this subject, but it is fascinating!
- Gilbert Watts is this book’s leading man. I gave up on being able to use the name Gilbert on one of my own kids and instead gave it to a character. I adore the name Gilbert and everything about this character, hope you do too!
- There is a joke at the end of the book about a graveyard (don’t worry, it’s not scary) and it’s a nod to my mom who used to use this joke on us every time we passed a cemetery. I really love sneaking in things into my stories that will make my kids, family, and friends smile when they read it. I often think of my books as love letters from me to others and the best kind of love letters are personal.
- My husband is a dentist and as a result, we tend to notice dentist in media. They are often portrayed as villains or comic relief. I decided it would be my goal to write a romantic dentist that would change the image in readers minds.
- Gilbert tells Hazel that being a dentist is really being an artist. When my husband was first trying to decide on a career path, he shadowed a dentist. He didn’t really think it would be for him, but he was open to exploring options. He came home and told me that the cool thing about dentistry was that you were essentially making art that was functional, every day. Little sculptures that helped people eat and smile better. Gilbert from the book is very different from my husband, but it was fun sneaking in little pieces of him in there.
- One of my favorite scenes from this book take place at a corn husking. There is a tradition that says, if a red ear of corn is found, the finder gets a kiss. Sigh, I love that scene!
- Without always meaning to, my books end up having messages woven into them. I believe one of the messages in A Lady in Attendance is forgiveness. In this case, it’s forgiving of one’s self. I believe this message is one that we all need at some point in our lives (or many points!).
- My books are coming out in a different order than they were written in. I actually wrote this book before Yours Truly, Thomas and after A Life Once Dreamed. This story has been waiting a long time to be in print! During that time, it has been reshaped in little ways. It gained a prologue and lost an epilogue, it was tamed down in places and intensified in others, but the heart of it has always been the same!
- One last piece of A Lady in Attendance trivia—several of my books have had their titles changed. It’s part of the writing process. The books get a working title and later a title that the rest of the world knows it by. The Hope of Azure Springs was originally just Azure Springs. Yours Truly, Thomas was originally Dear, Azure Springs. A Life Once Dreamed was originally The Belle of Penance. A Lady in Attendance began as A Lady in Attendance and stayed A Lady in Attendance. Not only is this title fitting because dental assistants were known by this or as an attending lady, but also because Hazel wrestles with her worth. In a society that believes a mistake made once can leave a mark forever, it takes the right eyes and open heart to realize that there truly is a lady in attendance.
A Lady in Attendance by Rachel Fordham is a really excellent read. I love Fordham’s writing style. Every time I’ve read one of her novels I’ve been immediately captivated. A Lady in Attendance is no exception. This book caught my attention from page one and didn’t let go until the very last page. Actually, when I got to the last page I was confused momentarily. “What?! It’s over?!” is what I asked myself internally. This is a story I could have easily sat for another hundred pages or so.
So, what did I love so much about this book? Here is my list of likes:
- Characters — Hazel and Gil and Ina are the BEST. Each character is unique, yet all are super relatable and endearing. Gil is an excellent hero because he is not your typical Romance hero. In fact, most people wouldn’t even notice Gil. He’s quiet and introverted. He doesn’t say much. But then he meets Hazel and his life is changed. He grows into a fantastic Romance hero who very much saves the day. I love how Hazel is the catalyst to bringing Gil’s true nature out into the open. And, because Gil is allowed to come out of his shell, so to speak, he then becomes the catalyst for Hazel to grow into the confident woman he knows she can be. I very much love how Gil and Hazel become a strong team and help each other become better people. And then there is Ina. Ina becomes Hazel’s best friend and I love everything about her. My favorite aspect of her character is how good of a friend she is to Hazel. When Hazel needs support, Ina is there. When Hazel needs truth, Ina is there. When Hazel needs a shoulder to cry on, Ina is there. Ina is the kind of friend we would all be lucky to have. And, I love that Fordham gives Ina a happily ever after in this story, too!
- Team work — This story is a great illustration of decent, like-minded, compassionate people coming together to help one another out. There are countless moments in this story where the main cast of characters come together as a team to help. This may seem like an insignificant or boring thing to notice in a novel, but I found it super refreshing to read about people standing by each and supporting each other no matter the consequences. It was so nice to “see” people working together to build something up rather than take things apart. I’m so spiritually and emotionally exhausted by the utter insanity and chaos that’s in my real world that reading A Lady in Attendance was balm to my very soul.
- Themes — this lovely story brings up such great talking points on topics such as forgiveness, redemption, Society and how it judges based on looks rather than heart, second chances, the ability to control how we act in situations, relying on God to see us through tough times, real romance vs. fictionalized romance, and true friendship. I believe this novel would make an exceptional book-club read. Of the many things discussed in this book, my favorite topic is in regards to our self-worth and how others see us. All too often, the world see us as nothing — as sinners, losers, mistake-makers, etc. — and it is very unforgiving. Today, it’s insane how poorly Society treats humans: did you make a mistake and post something dumb on SM ten years ago when you were 15? Did someone resurface that old social media post to show the world how dumb you used to be? Are you sorry you posted that? It doesn’t matter, you made a mistake one time and the world doesn’t forgive. Now, you are banned from Society cause Twitter or Instagram or Facebook says so. What’s really rough is that most people care deeply about what Society thinks about them. When they feel the harshness of Society’s inability to forgive and forget, they begin to internalize all the meanness hurled at them and believe they truly are worthless. In our day, Social Media rules with a heavy fist, but in Hazel’s day it was her uppity, wealthy, super-judgmental social class that deemed her unfit and worthless. It’s not until she is trapped in a reformatory, and later when she makes really good relationships with regular working-class people, that Hazel comes to realize what really matters and who she really is. The best lesson this story teaches is that we need to choose the right voices to listen to.
There is so much more good to say about A Lady in Attendance as it’s a really superior story. But, I don’t want this review to go on and on and on. Instead, I’d rather you just go buy a copy of this excellent story and experience for yourself what a great read this Historical Romance truly is.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Rachel Fordham, via Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of a paperback copy of A Lady in Attendance as well as A Life Once Dreamed, a signed bookplate, book swag, and a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
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